Hollow Earth

PR and Community

I was listening to this conference of different game’s PR departments (Myst Online‘s included) and I came across this passage that sounded very much like what we’re dealing with now. Troy Hewitt, Community Director for Pirates of the Burning Sea said:

“The most crucial milestone is that point between closed beta and open beta when you’ve got that die hard group of community members who have been there with you for– since the day that you announced you were building a game around their favorite title or IP or whatever. There is that really crucial moment when those folks that don’t necessarily care about your title that are just looking for a new game to play and people who are passionate about it clash and meet and if you don’t spend the time to manage those relations your forum becomes a war zone and your staff hunker down and it’s a really unmanageable situation. And it’s ultimately damaging to this end result, this community.”


This is, pretty much, what we’re dealing with now. The people who are just looking for another game to play, the (as Eleri coined the term) parasites who ask and give nothing in return (perfectly normal behavior in other games). And then there are the loyal fans who, as is talked about later in the video, have built fences in the community saying “this is what the community is” (though not as blatantly as that). Some of that is needed to keep Uru’s core spirit and ideas (little to no violence, clear moral choices, parts of the story and content put into the player’s hands) from dissolving.

Another point made near the end of the video is that the game company needs to enlist the help of those passionate fans to help create norms for the game. To redirect, as Mr. Hewitt said, the passion and love for the game away from making it a “community of contention”. This I haven’t seen much, and I’d like to see Cyan do that more. I think that’s what the Liaisons could have been and what Reteltee is partially serving as. The problem is that we think we require a lot of hand-holding, feedback. No one would be comfortable making a rule or norm without talking to Cyan and Cyan isn’t around a lot, etc. Not to mention this community’s rabid disgust with any form of leadership or anyone who has something others don’t. This community breeds a lot of paranoia. I saw over hood chat during an episode people complaining about Reteltee holding back information. Certainly he may be, but that is life. We can either choose the mindset that he is greedily or otherwise sinfully holding back information by his choosing, or we can choose the mindset that he is hiding only what the DRC (Cyan) has told him to. I find the second leads to lower blood pressure.


Filed under: Uru Community

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All posts are my opinion only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.
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